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A powerhouse double bill of two of the most exciting upcoming bands.
Jamie Smith’s Mabon
The music of Jamie Smith’s Mabon is well described as Original Interceltic World Music. Composed by frontman Jamie Smith, and brought to life by highly accomplished musicians, it draws inspiration directly from the traditional folk music of the Celtic countries. This is not Welsh music, nor Scottish or Irish; this is Interceltic music, a true exploration of forms and styles found in Celtic music and their forging into something bold and new.
One of the most celebrated and successful Scottish folk bands of recent times, Breabach command the stage with flare, charisma and a sound that is as expansive as it is distinct. Powered by double bagpipes, flute and fiddle, this uncompromising force is further fueled by the tight groove of double bass, guitar and step-dance. Their enviable musicianship and adaptability is elegantly displayed through the thoughtful arrangement and delivery of songs. A repertoire that effortlessly fuses the traditional and contemporary underlines their commitment and passion for their musical heritage but also displays a willingness to explore and challenge boundaries.
Photography : Diego Pallu, www.justsimon.com, www.paulmichaelhughes.com
Mabon at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, in Fareham
Jamie Smith’s Mabon is the most exciting folk band around at the moment.
I can say that categorically after witnesses their astonishing gig at the Ashcroft Arts Centre, in Fareham.
Leaves, freshly picked up from the huge American plane tree in the grounds, were scattered in front of the stage in a nod to the new album’s title, Windblown. The soft, candle-like lighting set the atmosphere for the evening.
The stunning music produced by this five-piece – 60 per cent Welsh – folk group conjures up images of nature at it’s most wild, interspersed with moments of pure beauty and romance.
By turn it’s joyous and heart-wrenching – particularly in the Welsh speaking epic Caru Pum Merch.
Their intimate gig was one I will never forget.
From the uplifting opening of Huzzah – the first track on album – it was almost impossible not to dance.
Fiddler Oli Wilson-Dickson is sublime. He was able to capture every sort of emotion with his strings, which I found particularly powerful on the haunting Gordana Ranter. Drummer Iolo Whelan smiled and laughed the entire way through the set and his joy was infectious.
The Celtic infused wonder of Summer’s Lament is currently a favourite on BBC Radio Wales, and rightly so.
There were plenty of jigs – including Cake Bakers which sadly has not been recorded yet. The Eastern European gypsy romp, in Nikolai the Dancing Bear was magical.
Jamie Smith is the star of the show, folk’s accordionist equivalent of Mick Jagger – funny and cool throughout the performance. I would urge you to see this amazing show before the tour ends on December 5.
There is also a free download of Lady of the Woods available at jamiesmithsmabon.com.